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October 21, 2001

Joe Torre


Q. Regardless of how it goes tonight, can you describe the feeling of having Andy going to the mound tomorrow?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think you all know that I have a great deal of confidence in Andy, just the way he's pitched important games for us. He's been a -- I just had to see him pitch a couple of guys, for a guy who has never been in a post-season game himself, I put a lot of stock in what I saw in '96 and he has not changed my opinion of that. I'm very comfortable and very confident in that.

Q. If Roger pitches several more years and continues to have success, do you see a time where he may be more remembered as a Yankee than maybe a Red Sox?

JOE TORRE: He struck out those 20 guys; that was pretty impressive. I think the Yankees, obviously because of all of the successes we've had, World Series-wise, probably people pay more attention to it. But I think people will always remember Roger because that's the way he came to the big leagues and he came and made quite a splash at the time. And it's remarkable at his age that he's still that high-profile guy and he's still a power pitcher.

Q. Knoblauch's role in the post-season in batting average is higher than in the regular season, what does that do for you?

JOE TORRE: We started the season with him in the lead off spot and we found he could function a lot better, because he is a legitimate lead-off hitter, he's very aggressive when he gets on the base paths and he works the pitcher. To have him playing like he is and having the at-bats like he has in the post-season is very important. I know we have not scored a lot of runs, but the runs we have scored he's been a big part of more for the most part. And it's important. Because then Jeter -- I'm most comfortable with him in the number two spot. We don't have to fiddle with it very much when he's leading off. Again, he makes the pitcher work.

Q. Where does Roger's one-hitter in the playoffs against the Mariners last year rank among the games you have seen him pitch, and in that game there were a couple of tight pitches to Alex that the Mariners disputed; how much is intimidation a part of his game?

JOE TORRE: I think there's intimidation because of how hard he throws, and the fact that he keeps you honest as far as laying over the plate. But that was the best game I have ever seen him pitch in the few years he has been here. He was very dominating and he had the breaking ball, he had the whole nine yards. Again, you know, it's not, to me, it's not unusual to see hitters being knocked back because of the style of hitting anymore. Most of your hitters now are diving into the ball and because they get knocked back doesn't necessarily mean the ball is way inside. But for sure, and, you know, I managed against Roger, too, and he aggravated me because I felt that he maybe made sniff the baseball just a little bit more than he needed to, but that's part of his intimidation, part of the way he pitched. One guy I've compared him to I had the same feelings about; I didn't care for Bob Gibson until I got to play on his team, either.

Q. George said he had a chance to speak to you this afternoon; was he looking for any guarantees from you?

JOE TORRE: No, no. I cut that one off. (Laughs) I'll live with that 1996 and make everybody think I was really smart. I don't want to make any more suggestions or promises or guarantees or anything like that. He came down, I think he just wanted take the temperature of the clubhouse, even though not too many players were here when he did come down. But he did seem like he was in a -- I'm not going to say comfortable, none of us are comfortable. I think the fact that when you are in post-season play, you try to maintain an edge, but he seemed very supportive.

Q. Did you see anything in any of Bret Boone's prior inclinations; do you think he could be a 141 RBI type of guy?

JOE TORRE: No, but the one thing I did notice was his ability to hit the home run to right field. And anybody who can hit the ball to right field, you know is a much better hitter than Bret Boone looked like he was before this year. Of course, the new ballpark is a little more conducive to being able to hit home runs to the opposite field, but for what he's perceived of, as a little guy, he really has good bat speed and he jumps at the ball pretty good. But he's gotten to be a lot more disciplined at the plate, but there's a lot of home runs. To me, the home run numbers are a little mind boggling for me. Barry hitting 73, and yet when you are up there watching him, when he swings the bat, it's out of the ballpark. Boone has worked at it and I appreciate a guy who has played as long as he has for a number of clubs and to make himself the player that he is right now.

Q. Lou did not take any credit for his words or speech affecting the game yesterday. Do you think his speech had an impact on the way his team played?

JOE TORRE: I think -- I'm sure the players, they like to hear that their manager believes in them, and I think that's important, for the players. That's really -- they live with each other for seven, eight months a year. You know when they don't do well, Lou is going to let them know about it. I think, sure, he was frustrated losing a couple of close games at home, but he certainly knows his ballclub is capable of winning. You know, I don't want to say he went out on a limb. You win 116 games, to say that you are going to run the series back to Seattle is not a big reach for him. But he certainly is a motivator. I love him to death. He's a wildman. What can I tell you? (Laughter.) He loves to win. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and I appreciate that.

Q. What's the difference in coming back after a close loss or coming back after a blowout like yesterday?

JOE TORRE: Good question. I remember before the first game, I complemented Lou on the way his ballclub bounced back from losing 17-2. Little did I know, a week later whatever it was, he was going to kick my ass the same way. The one thing with it, it's just one loss, which we all know. But the fact that you lose a 4-3 game in 11 innings and everybody writes about what a great game it is, it's a lot more debilitating for a club to lose using all of their people; a little more draining than what went on yesterday.

Q. Joe, were you at all concerned, not about us in the media, but from a team standpoint about so many of your starters clearing out yesterday?

JOE TORRE: It's not the right thing. I talked to my players before we went out to batting practice today. I wasn't in a great mood myself after the game yesterday, and, you know, I know they are better than that. I think they were frustrated, but, again that doesn't make it the right thing to do. I think a few of them are going to be in here in a couple of minutes.

Q. You are a man of many accomplishments yourself. It seems in the way you are talking that you might appreciate the fact that the 2001 Seattle Mariners made it to the ALCS with all of their accomplishments, have you expressed anything to Lou?

JOE TORRE: As far as what they accomplished, winning 116?

Q. And making it to the ALCS?

JOE TORRE: It's a great deal of pressure, there's no question. I complimented Lou. You don't want to build his ego up too much because you don't want him to use it against you. But I know what it's like, winning 114 games in 1998 we were under an enormous amount of pressure. Maybe part of it was being in New York, I don't know. But to go on and really not stop until you get to the World Series, and hopefully win the World Series, which we did, you know, when you look back, it was very satisfying, but at the time we were going through it, it was very grueling.

End of FastScripts....

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